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EMU Held Field Position Advantage, EKU Won 12 of 18 Third Downs
Reading the box score, and other closing thoughts, on Eastern Michigan's 42-34 win over Eastern Kentucky.
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Box Score Bites: Eastern Michigan 42, Eastern Kentucky 34
EMU wins 2nd and 3rd quarters, outscored 17-14 in 4th quarter
Friday’s game saw a scoreless first quarter, followed by EMU winning the second and third quarters 14-10 and 14-7, respectively. After Taylor Powell’s 7-yard TD run with 11 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, EKU scored twice in under a minute via a 40-yard field goal and 14-yard TD pass. Hassan Beydoun came down with a 22-yard TD catch with 3:22 remaining, and EKU scored one last time on another TD pass with 1:11 left in the game.
Field Position: EMU averaged a 12-yard advantage for the game
EMU’s average field position for the game started out on its own 37-yard line while EKU’s game average was on its 25-yard line.
EMU’s first two drives were spotted on its 20 (after interception in end zone) and 24-yard lines (after punt), but EMU’s next two drives in the second quarter put its offense in great position: on the EKU 48 (penalty after 35-yard kick return by Jaylon Jackson) and the EMU 49 (after EKU fumble). EMU marched on to score two-straight touchdowns over 17 plays, and only had to travel 99 yards on offense to score its first 14 points.
In the second half, EMU would have drives that began on the EKU 42 (after a poor punt out of EKU’s own end zone) and the EKU 47 (onside kick recovery). On the drive from the EKU 42-yard line, EMU strung up a quick, 4-play drive to score a touchdown and go up 28-10.
Eastern Kentucky’s best starting field position of the game came late in the fourth quarter when it got TE Jere Getzinger to fumble on offense and the Colonels recovered on the EMU 42-yard line. The Colonels, with some help of a defensive pass interference penalty against EMU, had a 51-second, 4-play, 42-yard drive to result in a touchdown.
EKU’s worst starting field position of the game was on the EKU 3 after an EMU punt. The Colonels finished the drive with a punt of their own.
EKU had five drives begin on its own 25-yard line and four drives begin inside of that.
EKU had a lot of yards in this game, but EKU had more yards to gain as well.
Also, the name of the game is to score more points, not gain more yards.
Still, EMU was out-gained 492 yards to 395. EKU ran 79 total plays to finish with an average of 6.2 yards per play, while EMU ran 63 total plays, and averaged 6.3 yards per play.
Time of Possession
EKU won the time of possession battle 31:48-28:12. EMU held the ball for 3:28 in the first quarter, 9:16 in the second, 7:05 in the third, and 8:23 in the fourth.
If there’s any lesson to learn out of this, it’s this: Don’t go three-and-out on offense. EMU moved just two yards over its first two drives.
This is where EKU really hurt itself. Many of these happened on special teams to hurt itself in the battle for starting field position, but EKU also had some defensive penalties that ended up hurting them on the scoreboard as well. EKU finished the game with 12 penalties for 108 yards lost while EMU was penalized 6 times for 59 yards lost.
One big difference EKU made in this game to make things extra difficult for EMU was to convert third downs at a gnarly rate. EKU was 12-of-18 on third down conversions (1-for-1 on fourth down) while EMU was 6-of-11 for the game.
Quarterly, EKU went 3/6 on third in the first, 3/3 in the second, 2/4 in the third, then 4/5 in the fourth; EKU was 6/9 on third down in both halves.
EMU failed to convert third downs in its first two offensive drives (two-straight three-and-outs to begin the year), then went 3/4 in the second, 1/2 in the third, then 2/3 in the fourth.
EMU Team Rushing
As a team, EMU had 124 total rushing yards on 33 att. to finish with an average of 3.8 yards per carry. Samson Evans scored twice and Taylor Powell did so once for three total rush TD vs. EKU.
Last year vs. FCS-level St. Francis in the season opener, EMU finished with 58 rush attempts for 221 yards to average, you guessed it, 3.8 yards per carry. The Eagles scored 5 rush TD in vs. St. Francis.
In 2019 when EMU faced off against Central Connecticut State in Week 4, EMU ran the ball 29 times for 94 yards. That’s an average of 3.2!
Here’s the answer to the trivia question on everybody’s mind now: It was the Monmouth game, in 2018, when EMU last ran for at least 4 yards per carry vs. an FCS school. EMU had 39 rush attempts for 171 yards to average 4.4 per rush (2 TD).
EMU Team Defense
EMU’s defense only had one tackle for loss the entire game, and it happened with Jordan Crawford’s first career sack. The defense created two turnovers (interception, fumble), broke up 4 total passes from four different players, and recorded 2 QB hurries.
There were 70 total tackles made, 36 solo.
Individual Stats: EMU Offense
QB Taylor Powell: 21/30 passing, 271 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
Without having re-watched this game yet, Powell seemed to have a quality first game out there with his third and final college team.
Powell got four wide receivers, three tight ends, and one running back involved in the pass game with most of his targets to Dylan Drummond (8 targets), Darius Lassiter (6), and Tanner Knue (5). Knue was the recipient of Powell’s first two TD receptions and was the targeted receiver on his interception thrown towards the end of the first half.
Powell’s third TD pass was caught by Hassan Beydoun, who was honored with the #2 jersey on Thursday, but it wasn’t a pretty pass. Powell feels comfortable tossing up high-arced passes for his receivers to make plays over their defenders, but in this instance the ball floated up for two EMU receivers to try to make a play on in, along with their two defenders. On paper, it’s a great throw that led to six points. On the field, it was very risky move.
The interception, situationally, wasn’t that big of a deal. EKU’s ensuing drive on offense started on its own 6-yard line and only had 44 seconds to play with. EKU smartly ran the clock out to reach halftime instead of risking a turnover. Still, you’d rather not see Powell throw interceptions in the first place.
RB Samson Evans: 15 att., 89 yards (5.9 avg., 92 gain, 3 loss), 2 TD, long 16
It was against FCS competition, but Evans still had his busiest day as an Eagle. His 15 rush attempt sand 89 yards are both new career marks for the junior. His previous career-best game came in his EMU debut when he rushed for 80 yards on 14 carries at Ball State.
Friday was Evans’ fifth career multi-TD game.
WR Dylan Drummond: 8 targets, 4 rec., 62 yards, 26 YAC
Drummond was EMU’s most-targeted receiver on the night. His biggest catch was a near-touchdown when he was found wide-open downfield, ran for a 40-yard reception before he was caught from behind and tackled at the 2-yard line. EMU would finish the drive with a rushing score by Evans.
WR Tanner Knue: 5 targets, 4 rec., 43 yards, 2 TD, 16 YAC
Knue was the hot target against EKU with two touchdowns gone his way. And if the intercepted pass his way was more on-target, then maybe he would’ve had a third. Knue’s touchdown grabs weren’t easy. He had to stretch out and drag his toes to secure his first score. The second touchdown happened with him going across, and he had to sprint after the catch plus stretch to the pylon as a defender came at him.
WR Darius Lassiter: 6 targets, 4 rec., 26 yards, 6 YAC
Lassiter played his first game with the Eagles since transferring from the JUCO ranks. Dropped one pass he wishes he could have back, but a good EMU debut otherwise.
WR Hassan Beydoun: 4 targets, 3 rec., 48 yards, 1 TD
In his first game with the #2 jersey, Beydoun came through with a great TD catch in heavy traffic (even Drummond tried to make a play on it).
TE Gunnar Oakes: 3 targets, 3 rec., 32 yards, 28 YAC
TE Andreas Paaske: 2 targets, 1 rec., 34 yards, 12 YAC
Individual Stats: EMU Defense
LB Chase Kline: 9 tackles (2 solo), 1 pass breakup
Kline made his EMU debut as the middle linebacker and played up to the occasion. He was tough-tasked with having to guard EKU’s stud tight end against the pass in the second half. He led the team with nine tackles, breaking his personal best dating back to his games from Michigan State.
S TJ Peavy: 8 tackles (6 solo)
Peavy led the team in solo tackles made with 6 vs. EKU.
LB Joe Sparacio: 8 tackles (4 solo)
DT Peyton Price: 5 tackles (1 solo)
Price was fourth on the team with five tackles made.
S David Carter: 4 tackles (3 solo), 1 pass breakup
S Blake Bogan: 4 tackles (1 solo), 1 interception, 1 pass breakup, 1 QB hurry
S Russ Vaden: 3 tackles (3 solo), 1 fumble recovery, 1 pass breakup
DT Melvin Swindle: 2 solo tackles, 1 forced fumble
Swindle’s time on the field was limited, but he caused an important fumble vs. EKU.
DT Jordan Crawford: 2 tackles (1 solo, 1 sack)
Crawford’s sack was the first of his EMU career, and was the team’s only tackle for loss in the game.
DE Jose Ramirez: 1 solo tackle, 1 QB hurry
Individual Stats: EMU Special Teams
P Mitchell Tomasek: 3 punts, 126 yards (42.0 avg.), long 51, 1 inside 20 (3-yard line)
Tomasek made his EMU debut as the punter. In the game, he had a 42-yard punt from the EKU 45 (4th & 2) go down and roll out of bounds at the 3-yard line. Tomasek also had a 51-yard punt to flip the field, from the EMU 24 to EKU’s 25.
K Jesus Gomez: 6/6 PAT
This is the first game with new kickers for EMU. Gomez handled placekicking, Brady Pohl handled kickoffs. Gomez was perfect on point-after attempts.
LG #62 Sidy Sow — Sow made his 43rd career start vs. EKU (45th career game).
RT #77 Brian Dooley — Dooley made his 35 career start vs. EKU (37).
WR #1 Dylan Drummond — Drummond made his 27th career start vs. EKU (43 career games).
LT #71 Marcellus Johnson — Johnson made his 20th career start vs. EKU (33).
WR #2 Hassan Beydoun — Beydoun made his 17th career start vs. EKU (37).
WR #24 Tanner Knue — Knue made his 10th career start vs. EKU (14).
RG #68 Alex Howie — Howie made his 7th career start vs. EKU (13).
TE #82 Gunnar Oakes — Oakes made his 4th career start vs. EKU (39).
RB #22 Samson Evans — Evans made his 3rd career start vs. EKU (17).
C #70 Dimitri Douglas — Douglas made his first career start vs. EKU (3).
QB #7 Taylor Powell — Powell made his first career start vs. EKU (1)
S #0 Blake Bogan — Bogan made his 20th career start vs. EKU (40th career game).
DT #92 Alex Merritt — Merritt made his 16th career start vs. EKU (23).
DE #4 Jose Ramirez — Ramirez made his 10th career start vs. EKU (24).
S #13 Russ Vaden — Vaden made his 8th career start vs. EKU (23).
S #8 T.J. Peavy — Peavy made his 8th career start vs. EKU (16).
CB #17 Mark Lee Jr. — Lee made his 6th career start Friday (14).
DT #93 Jordan Crawford — Crawford made his 5th career start vs. EKU (21).
DE #90 Grant Trueman — Trueman made his first career start vs. EKU (23 career games).
LB #6 Chase Kline — Kline made his first career start vs. EKU (1).
CB #15 Josh Scott — Scott made his first career start vs. EKU (1).
LB #19 Joe Sparacio — Sparacio made his first career start vs. EKU (1).
EMU knew it had a shot at this game if it could find way to limit its quarterback and tight end on offense.
QB Parker McKinney went 35/51 passing for 351 yards, 3 TD, and 1 rush TD. It ended up being a very evenly-matched game with the quarterbacks.
TE Dakota Allen was EKU’s leading receiver with 11 targets, 9 catches, 118 yards (11 YAC), and 2 TD.
Returning starter Richard Bates, expected to start at center last week, was out and not dressed Friday.
Returning starter Kempton Shine did not play vs. EKU.
RBs Jaylon Jackson and Darius Boone combined for 7 carries, 36 yards out of the backfield.